How to Eliminate Microbial Growth in Your HVAC

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Microbial growth in your HVAC system can reduce energy efficiency and contaminate the air in your building. This is a particular risk in hot, humid areas like Houston and along the Texas coast, but it can occur in buildings anywhere. Inside the HVAC system it is often cold, dark, and wet—providing the perfect environment for mold and other microbial organisms to grow.

How you clean and maintain your evaporator coils, and even the filter you use can affect the spread of bacteria, viruses, mildew, and mold in your system. Here are some tips to help eliminate or prevent microbial growth in your HVAC.


Keep Your Coils and Whole System Clean

Routine preventive maintenance is essential for maintaining the cleanliness and efficiency of your air handlers. Heat transfer across the coils is critical to energy efficiency. When there is a buildup of biofilm or other grime on the coils, it will reduce the unit’s efficiency and require more energy to heat and cool the building. This type of growth also harms air quality in the building, especially when it occurs downstream from the filters. Any spores or particles released into the airstream below the filters will go directly into the air you breathe.

Regular HVAC coil cleaning (at least once per year) helps prevent both microbial growth and the buildup of other contaminants that can negatively affect your HVAC system. For example, steam cleaning is effective because it uses heat to kill growth on the evaporator coils.

It’s also important to remember the drain pan under the coils. Condensation and runoff collect under the unit and need to be captured and drained out of the system, but if there is any standing water or residue, it needs to be treated. HVAC pan tablets can be applied based on the tonnage of the unit to prevent algae or other organisms from growing in this area. Without proper treatment, the drain pan can become clogged—potentially leading to spillage that can damage your system and cause microbial growth to spread.

Another good way to kill mold and other contaminants (and prevent them from returning) is to install ultraviolet lights over the coils in your HVAC system. UVC light kills bacteria, viruses, mildew, mold, and other harmful organisms.


Don’t Let Your Filters Provide Food for Bacteria

Changing your filters on a regular schedule is important for maintaining high air quality, but when microbial growth is an issue, you also need to consider the type of filters you use. Many common disposable filters end up becoming food for mold and bacteria because of the materials they’re made with. For example, cotton-blend filters in cardboard frames are very common. Unfortunately, both the filter material and the frames provide sources of food, which can enable rapid microbial growth.

Joe W. Fly Co. often recommends installing permanent frames made of galvanized stainless steel, with synthetic filter media placed inside. This helps prevent growth because microbial organisms cannot feed on these materials. Our frame and media filtration system also helps eliminate air bypass and improve air quality because there are no gaps in the filter. Best of all, this approach can also deliver savings on materials and labor, compared to traditional disposable filters.


Contact the HVAC and Air Filtration Experts

As the largest commercial and industrial HVAC filter distributor in Texas, Joe W. Fly Co. has helped countless businesses improve their indoor air quality and energy efficiency. By recommending the best filters and other products, and providing just-in-time services, our team of experienced technicians helps make the most of every dollar you spend on HVAC. And because we work with a wide variety of manufacturers and base our recommendations solely on what will work best for you, we can often help reduce the cost of maintenance operations.

Microbial growth can degrade the quality of the air you breathe and cause costly damage to your HVAC system. Contact the experts at Joe W. Fly Co. today to learn more and start taking action against mold, bacteria, and other silent threats.

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